The tide seems to be turning on ‘Work from Goa’ trend



Mumbai: “The exodus has finally begun”, a local real estate agent told Devika Sarin recently.Sarin, the co-founder of a boutique bed and breakfast and co-working space in Goa – Curioso Studio and Suites, knew immediately what the agent was referring to.Big-city dwellers, predominantly from the startup and tech community, who had – amid a raging Covid-19 pandemic – moved to the coastal paradise in the middle of last year to soak in its beaches, weather, natural habitat, and more importantly, for its short flight distance from hubs like Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad and Mumbai, were going back. During the pandemic, reverse migration emerged as one of the biggest trends in the startup and tech community in the United States, where prominent founders, venture capitalists and big companies like Tesla moved base from the San Francisco Bay Area to states like Texas and cities like Miami.India, too, saw a similar trend, where a host of startup staff went back to their hometowns, while others relocated to Goa.Since June, 90% of the occupants at Curioso had comprised “fintech boys” as opposed to the usual mix of creative and design professionals. The exodus “in” had also spiked realty prices by 20%-30%. However, now they were reverting to tier-1 city homes in Delhi-NCR and Bengaluru as many offices moved to reopen starting March. Fun and franticOver the last five months, the cofounder of co-working spaces operator 91 Springboard, Pranay Gupta (also based in Goa), received one query every week from founders eager to have a remote working set up in the coastal state, compared to one a month before the pandemic. 81239660Tech Twitter had been abuzz with the community’s reverse migration to Goa of late with chatter around turning it into the Miami of India’s startup world. In fact, cafes in North Goa reverberated with “Koramangala talks” – as Raj Kunkolienkar, a Goan and cofounder of startup MBA school Stoa said, referring to chatter around funding news at the startup central in Bengaluru. Yet, the hype around any reverse migration posed its own set of challenges.Talent acquisition, internet connectivity, mobility, among other things that make it hard for people to sustain the shift, were ultimately reducing it to a short-lived fad. Are people going back to Bangalore?— ankit (@ankitkr0) 1614319851000Experts said only 30% of those from the tech circle who moved to Goa during the pandemic may consider staying back for long. It could imply that they were choosing a better quality of life over better career prospects, they added. With Covid-19 virus outbreak normalising remote work, many tech professionals were able to put into motion their dream of having a life in Goa, away from the traffic and pollution of a large metropolis. “But the excitement seems to be wearing off now,” Sarin of Curioso said. While working on a beach sounds enticing, Goa is still not there in terms of infrastructure for a startup hub to flourish even though the state government is driving initiatives to change that. Ride hailing services providers Ola and Uber are banned there, only state-run cab facility GoaMiles works. Internet connectivity is patchy at best. Millenials’ paradiseThe move is easier for unmarried millennials who are not tied down by familial responsibilities.“For the next year or so, it gives us the option to optimise for quality of life,” said Rishi Raj Rahul, founder of upskilling platform Aviate. The 33-year-old moved to Goa in July while most of his team members are still in Bengaluru. It may also be feasible for founders running small teams to operate out of Goa, “but hiring senior talent becomes the main issue if you want to scale up as families with dual-income may struggle to shift to Goa,” said Akhil Singh, cofounder of ed-tech startup Questt.Singh moved to Goa in November 2018 but is currently thinking of shifting base to Bengaluru as his company scales up. Naman Shrivastava, 28, cofounder of Global Governance Initiative, a think-tank that works with the United Nations in Boston, came home to Delhi during the pandemic but soon moved to Goa to escape the extreme weather. Even his move is temporary, though, as he is planning to explore the possibility of remote working from Madhya Pradesh next. “Goa is not a good place to stay between April and May because of the hot weather,” he said. Bhagyashree Pancholy, a remote work and law specialist, said work-from-home in the same city has found acceptance among Indian tech companies and other corporates but remote working or work from ‘anywhere’ is still a fancy concept that is not feasible in the Indian construct. The spurt of technology workers who spent three-to-six months in the state has helped eradicate the myth that Goa is just a place to party. “People know that it is possible to work from here, too, now,” says Singh of Questt, adding that to sustain the trend, one needs a startup success story out of here. Those bullish on Goa feel that logistics company Delhivery, which shifted base to Goa from Gurugram sometime before the pandemic, will be that story. “The only problem I had during my six-month stay in Goa was that during some podcast recordings, I was told to mute myself as there were a lot of birds chirping in the background,” said Saransh D, 30, a startup business development professional who recently returned to hometown Delhi for some unavoidable work. He is contemplating working remotely from Rishikesh next.At present, Goa seems like it was just the first preference for those from the startup world who could afford to be digital nomads. 81239996The influx of tech geeks into the state did keep the economy afloat in the absence of international tourism, said Shruti Chaturvedi, founder of media company Chaaipani, who moved to Goa from Mumbai two years ago.“But now they’re moving back to the cities they came from while they have inflated prices in so many categories for the locals,” she said, adding that when the reverse migration happens for real, people would start giving back to the state — by generating employment for starters — instead of just using its resources. Noah Martins, a Goan and a student at BITS Pilani’s Goa campus, hoped people would respect the state’s culture. “I hope they won’t do here the things they’re mindful of not doing in their big cities as well.”Ilustrations by Rahul Awasthi

Article Source and Credit Buy Tickets for every event – Sports, Concerts, Festivals and more

Discover more from Teslas Only

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading